Compared with cars, caravans have it relatively easy. Many cover only a few hundred miles a year and their owners generally know how to look after a caravan and many treat them rather like pampered pets.
If you have a specific caravan make and model in mind, find out as much as you can about that model using caravan reviews so you can recognise the various layout options and trim levels.
Irrespective of whether you are buying privately or from a caravan dealer, be prepared to ask lots of direct questions (or get a heads up on caravan forums) to get the best possible deal.
In contrast to buying a new caravan, the most important aspect of assessing a used tourer is its condition. Nearly-new caravans will present fewer potential problems than caravans of a greater age and, crucially, a caravan in its first five or so years is likely to carry a warranty from a dealer.
That, perhaps more than any other factor, is a top of our list of tips for buying your first caravan from a dealer rather than try to grapple with the uncertainties of the private market. When you buy from a dealer, you can be confident that your purchase is the correct market price for its year – and that its history contains no hazards like having once been stolen or having outstanding finance.
The choice of used caravans is vast. Go to a large dealership and you are likely to be bewildered by the sheer number of used caravans on display. But, when you begin to narrow your search down to the price range and approximate layout requirements you’re targeting, a shortlist often quickly emerges.
Good advice would always be not to buy the first caravan you see and like – look at several options for comparison.
That said, it doesn’t always pay to go that way. Many people who break all the guidelines and buy on a whim never look back.
The benefits of buying a used caravan:
The disadvantages of buying a used caravan:
Tatty, elderly caravans with question marks over their roadworthiness – but you might get lucky
£1000 – £2500
Old but reasonably roadworthy caravans with pretty basic interiors. Expect extensive wear and tear
£2500 – £5000
This should buy a reasonable 15-year-old caravan. The upholstery will not be to modern tastes and the caravan won’t have many whistles and bells, but it will be serviceable
£5000 – £7500
Most dealers will have a good selection of caravans in this price range. Check there’s a warranty
£7500 – £10,000
Look for well-maintained and cared for tourers with full service histories, no faults or repairs and good specifications
Nearly new family caravans with the latest gear and immaculate interiors. Also, older, but more luxurious caravans with all the kit